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THE LINES OF YOUR FACE

A short film weaving together fragments of memory, loss, and land in a visual poem of handheld footage from Armenia and the 2020 Artsakh War.

Produced & Edited by Tara Ani Baghdassarian

Presented at the AFJ Annual Showcase 2023

San Francisco Public Library

The Lines of Your Face

The Lines of Your Face

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Words from the Artist:

On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani military forces launched a full scale war in Armenia, in the autonomous region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), with the support of Turkey and Israel. Approximately 90,000 Armenians in Artsakh lost their homes that fall. As of early January 2023, 120,000 remaining residents of Artsakh have been blockaded from the rest of the world by Azerbaijani military posing as “protesting environmentalists” for almost a month. Genocide Watch has condemned Azerbaijan as thousands of families currently face the winter cold and impending famine while all natural gas, food, and medical supplies have been blocked.

As South African artist William Kentridge stated, “the idea of being an artist is that all the different mediums are open to you in which to explore the world. Which is to say to explore your relationship to the world.” Since the 2020 Artsakh War, my relationship to the world changed drastically. I bore witness to the continued ethnic cleansing of Armenians from their indigenous lands, eastern colonial expansionism (it’s not only the west who colonize), western- backed silence, gaslighting by “enemy” states pumped with anti-Armenian propaganda — all while our collective cries for justice drowned into an abyss of darkness. I had never felt so hopeless in my life.

The Lines of Your Face is an attempt to dismantle, process, and recalibrate my perspective toward this planet — a globular map of ever-shifting territory lines. In the process, I revisited footage of mourning families that I couldn’t bear to watch for over two years. Through my art, I hope to engage, educate, and kindle collective healing for Armenians and other oppressed minorities.

THIS WORK IS DEDICATED TO:

All For Armenia is a group of Armenian repatriates and diasporans committed to the wellbeing, stability, and future of their homeland. At the start of the 2020 Artsakh War, they have been working to provide front-line aid for the refugees of Artsakh and border communities in Syunik Province. Guided by the values of humanitarianism, respect, transparency, compassion, and hope, their work provides nutrition, warm clothing, and hygiene products for the refugee families of Artsakh, and is evolving into more long-term, sustainable form of aid for not only these families, but their communities at large that extends beyond basic needs. They aim to transform & support their communities from the bottom-up, using the same needs-based philosophy that began their work in 2020.

ALL FOR ARMENIA

3 ACTIONABLE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO SUPPORT

Support local seamstresses working to secure jobs and support displaced Artsakh families

Support the teachers at All For Armenia's Tech Education Center by providing accessible education to youth & teens at border villages

Learn about their Kornitun project of joining local communities of Armenia & Artsakh to defend, preserve, and develop their land

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